EXCLUSIVE: Supernatural Spin-off Ghostfacers Performs Exorcism on the Internet
Actors from Supernatural and its Internet spin-off, Ghostfacers, discuss the new series at the show's premiere party in Hollywood
Fans of the Ghostfacers, the breakout characters from the CW's hit series Supernatural, can now rejoice because starting tonight they'll be able to follow the all-new adventures of these bumbling "Ghostbusters" on their very own Internet spin-off series. The show, Ghostfacers, premieres tonight, April 15th, on www.CWTV.com immediately following the 100th episode of Supernatural on the CW. An additional two episodes will arrive each Thursday for the following four weeks, for a total of ten episodes, which will all migrate to www.TheWB.com beginning June 7th. We had an opportunity to attend a premiere party for the series last night in Hollywood and speak with cast members from both Ghostfacers and Supernatural as well as watch the 30 minute series, which will play as two, three minute episodes that will air each week for the next five weeks every Thursday after Supernatural.
For anyone that is not familiar with Supernatural, Ed Zeddmore (A.J. Buckley) and Harry Spangler (Travis Wester) were first introduced into the series during the season one episode, Hell House, as bumbling paranormal investigators running an urban legend website called Hell Hound's Lair. We next met up with Zeddmore and Spangler in the season three episode, Ghostfacers, when the two once again bumped heads with the show's main characters, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively). In the episode, the Winchester brothers find that the two hapless investigators are now shooting a pilot for a Ghost Hunters type TV show called "Ghost Facers." When they all become locked in a haunted house, they must work together in order to stop the ghost before it kills them.
The new series picks up with Ed and Harry introducing them selves to the audience and what they are about to see. The series is shot documentary style and features a shaky-cam, night-vision and other techniques often used on Ghost Hunters, as well as the series famous theme. Without giving too much away the series, it involves the Ghostfacers team investigates the haunting of a local theatre by the spirit of a young starlet (played by Kelly Carlson of Nip/Tuck), who according to legend, was murdered in front of her dressing room mirror. They are also mourning the recent death of their intern, Corbett, and Ed feels personally responsible for his death, while love is in the air for Harry and Maggie, Ed's half sister and another member of the team. The show is very funny and extremely well made. Any fan of Supernatural and the Ghostfacers' characters will be very pleased with the final product, which is fun, exciting and in the vein of the original series.
We had an opportunity to speak with the series' stars, Travis Wester and A.J. Buckley and asked the co-creators if they were excited to finally have fans be able to see the series. "We're super stoked. It's been about two years since our characters first appeared on Supernatural so it's been a long road," answered Wester. "It was just four and a half years ago that we first met and were hoping that we'd get to come back and do more," said and Buckley. "Since then it's been great just going off on the weekends and shooting a YouTube video and just having a love for Ghostfacers. It's very rare in a career that you go off and do something and come back and people are like, oh I like this. Usually you do something and people are critical so it's just been a positive thing. We're constantly surprised with the snowball effect that the show has been having."
Wester continued by talking about the geneses of the project and Supernatural's creator Eric Kripke's constant encouragement. "When the thing first ended we were just beside ourselves and we were very sad. So A.J. and I thought, let's grab a camera and get out there and shoot some more of this stuff. We asked Eric if we could borrow the characters, basically, and do some YouTube stuff. We didn't know what we were going to do or how it was going to tie in to Supernatural, we just wanted to open the door. We asked if that was possible and like a week later we were sitting in an office with all the Supernatural brass, people from the show's production company, Wonderland, and people from Warner Bros. We were thinking, oh my God we're in trouble! We did something wrong," joked Wester. "Eric was there and said, so you guys are thinking about doing something? We were thinking about having you do web series, what do you think? A.J. and I were trying to keep it professional so we just nodded like this kind of thing happens all the time, said yes and then of course went outside and started freaking out and getting really stoked. Ever since then Kripke's been nothing but encouraging, and his style of leadership and his style of editing ideas is so subtle and awesome. Kripke was there the whole time guiding us and that's what makes him awesome. He never makes you feel like it's his idea or it's his show. Like, you have to do this because its his show, none of that."
Two years ago, at the San Diego Comic-Con, the two actors "interrupted" the Supernatural panel in character as part of a pre-planned bit. Buckley explained that the bit was more of a way for Kripke and the Warner Bros.' brass to gage the fan's reactions to the Ghostfacers, than it was done for entertainment value. "We actually had that meeting and then they were like, why don't you guys come down to Comic-Con. They were pitching us ideas like, come and crash the panel. We weren't sure what we were going to do but this was a test. This was definitely a test," Buckley told us. "Kripke said to us literally before we went on, this is either going to work or its going to fucking bomb! We were like, okay? But when we walked out on stage and everyone was up on his or her feet screaming, I looked at Travis and we couldn't believe it. Then we sang the Ghostfacers theme song and that was awesome. At that moment when we got off the stage, Eric came over with a few heads of Warner Bros. and they were baffled too. They were like, they really like you guys and we were like, yeah. Later, when (Jared and Jensen were doing a signing, they had us up in this booth behind and everyone was yelling, why aren't you doing a signing? They were getting mad at us for not being down there. The two Warner Bros. executives kept looking at us in disbelief. We had no idea that people were going to like us or respond the way they did. The reason why we have this opportunity is because of the fans," finished Buckley.
The actors went onto discuss the importance of these characters and this project to their careers overall. "The thing about a character like this ... and AJ and I were talking about it and fingers crossed these could be characters that we do for awhile. But the thing about a character like this is you never know that that character is a career kind of character until you get on stage and you play with it and you're with you're other actors," said Wester. "I understood Harry and had a take on the character when I auditioned but Ed and Harry didn't really become who they are, I don't think until AJ and I got on the set and started doing it. Then it just happened right away and that was it, it was done." "I think it was a real steppingstone for me in terms of the creative process," said Buckley. "I think you want to have some dimensions and this was one of the first times I was able to write something, hear people say the words, act and direct it. It was actually a really amazing experience too because as an actor you never like other actors giving you direction but it was a super humbling experience because on set, if I was in a scene, Travis would take over as director or make a suggestion, so there was no ego. The environment was always about ... we're just here for the love of it. I'm excited about what's ahead in the future."
We asked the actors if there were any plans to eventually embrace the mythology of Supernatural on the new Internet series? "Yeah, Eric gave us free range to play within the mythology and if we get another chance to come back and do some more stuff that's absolutely something we're look forward to doing. We kept it to ghosts this time but we have such a wide array of cool monsters and menacing things that we can play with and we'd love to do that," answered Wester. "When Eric said this to us, Travis and I were both like, huh? But he said that they wanted the Ghostfacers world to standalone and have it's own legs but at the same time that we did have this deep well of mythology to tap into," explained Buckley. "The actors from the show have been totally down to come and play. Misha Collins came up to us and said that he wanted to do Ghostfacers. We were like, really? He was like, yeah how do we make that work? So we went back to Kripke and said, here is our idea for a piece called Interview with an Angle, how the Ghostfacers would react if they met a messenger of the lord. It's a really funny bit. It won't be on this show but hopefully it will come out later down the road," finished Buckley.
On hand to celebrate with the boys was their Supernatural co-star Jim Beaver who plays demon hunter Bobby Singer on the show. We told Beaver what Kripke had said about Ghostfacers having the freedom to embrace the show's deep mythology and if making an appearance on the series was something he'd be interested in doing? "Oh cool, I didn't know that. I hadn't heard that," replied Beaver. "That's nice to hear, it's flattering. But yeah if it comes up I'll do it, if that happens I'll be very happy," Beaver concluded. We continued by asking Beaver what he thought about the unique opportunity for Wester and Buckley to take their characters over to a fresh and new medium? "I think it's cool. When we first saw the guys, the first time they were on the show I think we all thought that there would be a future for them. I really wasn't even in the first episode that they were in but I think there was a sense around the show that we hadn't seen the last of them. But this is bigger than anything we expected. This is cool and I'm real proud of them," answered Beaver. The actor went on to discuss what fans could expect from his character in the last few episodes of this season. "Just wait, a lot of action, a lot of adventure and a lot of tears." We also wanted to know if the actor was surprised by the recent announcement that the series would return for a sixth season, despite the fact that Eric Kripke had said since the beginning of the series that he thought it would only have a five year run? "No I think I always expected that the show would go beyond that. Whether I do or not remains to be seen," he answered cryptically.
Also at the event was former Nip/Tuck actress Kelly Carlson, who plays the spirit of the young starlet that is haunting the theater that the Ghostfacers are hired to investigate. We also asked the actress what she thought about the rare opportunity that Wester and Buckley given to create this new series using their Supernatural characters? "I think that's great. It shows that there is room to move in the business. When you can take something and pave your own way with it, as an actor that is amazing. The fact that as an actor you can be proactive in this industry, find something you want to do, write, direct and act in it is great. They are really creative guys and they did a great job with it." She also went onto explain how she became involved with the project. "(A.J. and I had met many years ago and we happen to be represented by the same management firm. They called me and said, will you play a ghost for us and I said, sure, why not? It was something totally different and fun," said Carlson.
Since Supernatural's surprise renewal a few weeks ago, rumors have been flying that the sixth season may be the shows last. We asked both Wester and Buckley if they though that their new Internet series could act in a sense like a back-door pilot for a prime-time series? "That's one of those things that you definitely don't want to talk about," said Wester. "Who knows? That would be fun but doing it on the Internet is fun too. The bottom line is just doing it is great so if we get to keep doing it then that's fantastic." "If it is that would be awesome," replied Buckley. "We have expected nothing but have always been surprised. We've worked really hard and have enjoyed every minute of working on this. I was saying today that I don't want this to end. This is so much fun to write and do. There is so much depth to these characters that we haven't even taped into yet. It's a format of a show that is fresh, fun and different. This is the best gig I've ever had in my life, in the sense of having so much creative involvement and people being so excited about it," finished Buckley.
Finally, since the Ghostfacers have not been seen on Supernatural since season three and will not return before the end of season five, we asked the two actors if they've talked to Eric Kripke about any plans to bring the actors back in season six? "I know that with the fifth season the storyline got so intense with the apocalypse and everything that they weren't quite sure how to fit the Ghostfacers in because we have a particular brand and style. But for the sixth season who knows? We're in there all the time for meetings and stuff so it could happen," explained Wester. "Who knows, but Eric has said since the Ghostfacers episode that he is trying to find away to bring us back in. We thought it might happen in season five but whenever Eric thinks it's the right time, we'll be there. All he has to do is send up the Kripke-Bat-Signal and we'll come running," finished Buckley.